What children and the weather have taught us about organic gardens
College students who helped us this summer have returned to their classes. These days, I must curb, reorganize, double-up my fieldwork to help fill a gap in help with vegetable beds and gardens. All day Saturday, for instance, Dela and I worked side-by-side. We harvested and weeded our pitiful bush beans, so ravaged for weeks by the drought. Some years, we’ve had such bountiful harvests of beans. It pains us to see how these plants have struggled to yield us these few beans in shares this week. Yet the volume Saturday was a 300 percent increase over the week previous. Our hope is kindled. We moved on to harvest hundreds and hundreds of pounds of tomatoes with Lindsay, who is still apprenticing with us. One vegetable variety’s downfall is another’s means of aspiration. We recalled a year when Wal-Mart’s mass marketing of tomatoes spread a blight all across the United States, a plant disease we did not escape entirely and which curbed our yields. Another season, a long run of cloudy cool days kept our tomatoes green for the longest time. Katie, who is still with us, gathered okra, and our daughter Holly brought along a friend to pick sweet peppers. These crops this season, too, have liked it hot. Our harvest ran all day, and all came home loaded in the pick-up trucks to be weighed and stored a few days in a walk-in cooler or air-conditioned room. With almost 40 acres of grains and hay in addition to our vegetable acres, almost all on rented ground from three different landowners, it’s often difficult for me to find time to work alongside Dela, as much as I try to at this time of the season. With her, I think of the children we raised in these garden paths during oh so many different seasons. Weather is like an eternally youthful child, who likes to tease and keep one guessing. Jim, Joel, Micah and Holly lived through it all with us. Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry – none of it mattered. We went out in shorts or sweaters, sandals or boots. It all makes my heart feel very full and generous. It makes me want to wish for every dear person on this good Earth a closeness to soil and seed, a place of service to legacy. We never know when we’re starting out in life what that which we do means. We grow the meaning. We nurture something out of the time. Do you realize this is what you’ve done with your food dollars over this season? Will you not look back with us over time, as a good number of subscribers who’ve been with us a number of years have done? It’s a dividend way beyond what your immediate food share provides. Together, no fickleness of weather need deter us from it! Fall/Winter share in November –Early sign-ups for the Fall/Winter share this year already total near the number we sold last year! The high tunnel greenhouses and low tunnel beds of vegetables we increasingly plant to harvest at Scotch Hill beyond killing frosts have brought us vital income through 4 difficult years economically. The two mega deliveries (or on-farm pick-ups) we sell in a $130 package as a Fall/Winter share provide a bounty of greens, root crops and canned goods that can enrich your end-of-year meals. For those in Madison and Janesville who’ve access to a $100 health insurance rebate to subscribe, the Fall/Winter share is particularly inexpensive. With this rebate, just a couple of the 20 or more items in each of two deliveries would sell separately for as much as they pay for a single delivery. Whether or not one has access to this health insurance incentive, the Fall/Winter share is packed with great vegetables to keep organic fresh and local appetites satisfied well beyond our June to October regular season. We’re planting and planning enough to feed 65 households the Fall/Winter share, but we’ve already received more than 40 payments. If you want to sign up for this share, please don’t delay. You can pay with a couple of post-dated checks for September and November if you need to do that.
This Week’s Vegetables are:
- Celery (an heirloom variety; much stronger flavor and nutrients than conventional California-grown variety; leaves can be dried to crinkle into soups)
- Broccoli (2 lbs.)
- Heirloom Tomato varieties (3 lbs.)
- Bush Bean varieties (1/2 lb.)
- Juliet and Sungold tomatoes (1 lb.)
- Spicy Greens Mix (a fall favorite; great in salads or lightly stir fry)
- Green Wave Mustard
- Summer Squash
- Peppers (rich in vitamin C; can slice and put in freezer bags for winter)
Photos of this share help you identify each variety and can be found by the website or Facebook
Cooking Tips for the Week
Hearty Broccoli Soup From Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert
As with any soup, you can use more or less vegetables or even different ones. This soup can be served chunky or pureed. Two cups potatoes diced (OR double the broccoli later on); 1 cup onion chopped; 1 cup carrots thinly sliced; ½ cup celery minced; 1 cup water, cook together for 5 minutes. Two cups broccoli (chopped), add and continue to cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Two cups milk or yogurt; 2 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes; 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce; salt and pepper to taste; add and heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Puree if desired at this point. One cup Swiss or sharp cheddar cheese (shredded – optional), add and stir until melted. Email email@example.com if you want an additional broccoli salad recipe this week.